I don't know about you, but I wasn't a fan of Sloppy Joes when I was younger. I remember being a bit disappointed waiting in line at school and summer camp when I saw Sloppy Joes being scooped out. Let's face it, they weren't the most appetizing to look at. I also don't recall being a fan of the texture and taste. To be fair it was cafeteria food, I was a bit picky when I was younger. I was probably the only child who disliked french fries, hot dogs, and Kool-Aid.
While I'd still probably dislike the cafeteria version, my taste buds have changed over the years...though I wish I still disliked french fries! As I've begun to experiment and cook more for the blog, I've rediscovered all sorts of food I previously disliked. Sloppy Joes weren't something I even considered trying again after I said goodbye to my cafeteria days. I recently, though, saw a recipe from my all-time favorite food blogger, The Pioneer Woman, so I figured I'd have to give it a try.
I often joke about how many Pioneer Woman recipes I blog about (too many to count at this point), but I've never been disappointed by any of her recipes. If you read my Bourbon Maple Pork Chop post, you know I even got to meet her at a book signing! I figured if anyone could make Sloppy Joes delicious, it would be her.
I love this recipe, it's definitely an elevated version of the cafeteria special. Not only is it packed with flavor and a bit of a kick, but it also has a perfect texture balance with some crunch from the onions and peppers. These sandwiches are my new go to recipe for lunch. I'll make a big batch on Sunday and eat sandwiches off of it for days.
I've made these Sloppy Joes multiple times and have started experimenting a bit more with the recipe. I tweaked a few things here and there and was pleased with the new sauce to meat ratio. I also decided to make the recipe a bit healthier by replacing ground beef with ground turkey! You can make the Sloppy Joes either way, but I really enjoyed the ground turkey version. I'm always looking for some leaner and healthier versions of my favorite foods!
Here's my (slightly) modified version of the Sloppy Joe recipe, you can find the original here.
Ground Turkey Sloppy Joe ingredients:
- 1 lb ground turkey
- 1/2 large green bell pepper
- 1/4 whole large onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 3/4 cup ketchup
- 1.2 cup water
- 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp dry mustard
- 1/4-1/2 tsp ground pepper flakes
- Couple dashes of Worcestershire sauce (to taste)
- 1 tbs tomato paste
- Ground black pepper
Ground Turkey Sloppy Joe instructions:
- Dice peppers and onions
- Mince garlic
- Brown ground turkey in a skillet over medium high heat
- Drain most of the fat and discard
- Add the peppers, onion, and garlic to the skillet
- Cook 4-5 mins, or until vegetables begin to soften
- Add ketchup, brown sugar, chili powder, dry mustard, and water
- Stir to combine and add salt and pepper to taste
- Add tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce, if desired
- Simmer around 20 mins, adjust seasonings as needed
- Serve on a toasted bun